Saturday, April 11, 2009

Orphan Day 2009 - continued (see previous posts below)

Our last visit was to deliver gifts to Intisar and her four children - Hani (9), Ziad (6), Shaymin (3) and Firas (1 1/2). We had begun our morning, delivering gifts to a family who lived in a lovely apartment, in a nice area - but only because they have to rely completely on the charity of friends and their apartment was given to them rent-free. But as the day progressed, each home we visited was in worse condition that the previous ones. Intisar and her kids live in one of the very worst homes we have ever been in.

When we reached Intisar's home, we had to climb stairs that reminded me of nightmares I had when I was a child - they were suspended without support and without handrails. The walls were made of brick that appeared to have no motar holding them together. We entered the apartment into a large, empty room with cement floor, with dark water flowing through a large corner of it. A peek into the single bedroom showed me walls covered with mold. The small sitting room was cheerier - with a bright carpet on the floor. A broken computer covered with a thin film of dust sat on a table by the window. They pay 40JD per month for their rent. They rely solely on charity to meet their needs. It is not enough; they are 6 months behind in paying their electricity bill.

Intisar and the kids share the one bedroom flat with Intisar's deceased husband's "other" wife. (most of the marriages I have encountered are with only one wife - however, occaisionally I meet a family where the husband has two wives - rarely more than two) The two women tell us they are happy with the arrangement and have always gotten along well. They share household chores and taking care of the children. Now that they are both widowed, they provide each other with emotional support as well.

Their husband's death is not war-related. He died of an aneurysm in April of 2007.

We are happy that we brought toys to these children even though their father's death is not directly related to the way and they came to Jordan prior to the US invasion. These simple gifts are probably the nicest things they have received in a long, long time. Their faces lit up brightly when they received their toys - although it took young Firas a while to lose the grimace on his face he had upon waking from his nap and finding a foreign-looking stranger with a camera sitting near him!